Michigan has received its first shipment of new oral medications to treat COVID-19, paxlovid and molnupiravir, following the recent emergency use authorization by the FDA.
These antivirals are designed for the outpatient treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19. Both medications may only be prescribed for a patient by physicians, advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants.
When administered to non-hospitalized patients within five days of symptom onset, these antivirals may reduce symptoms and the risk of hospitalizations and emergency room visits associated with the virus.
Due to the limited quantity of these drugs, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has developed eligibility criteria and prescribing requirements for the antivirals.
“The authorization of these new medications provides another important tool to help fight the virus,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “Due to limited availability of these antivirals, health care providers will need to determine the best course of treatment for their patients based on eligibility criteria. We ask Michiganders to be patient as providers will prioritize people at highest risk for developing serious illness from the virus. We are committed to distributing these pills equitably across the state, and access will increase as Michigan receives more allocations from the federal government.”
Priority Eligibility Criteria for therapeutics, including antiviral medication and monoclonal antibody therapy (mAb), will remain in effect until supply is able to meet demand and will be periodically reviewed as appropriate.
MDHHS continues to strongly recommend getting vaccinated and boosted for the best protection against the virus.
“It’s important to remember these drugs are not a substitution for protecting yourself by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in public places,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Getting vaccinated continues to be the best protection against severe illness and hospitalization, and we urge all Michiganders over age 5 to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Continue to wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth, test and social distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, avoid large gatherings and get vaccinated and boosted if you haven't already."
Treatment with mAb continues to be an important therapy for mild to moderate COVID-19 infection and is preferred over treatment with molnupiravir whenever it can be readily accessed. Based on current evidence, mAb therapy is also a comparable alternative to paxlovid for patients who do not have access to the oral medication, have contraindications to the medication (e.g., pregnancy), or are beyond five days (but within 10 days) of symptom onset. Treatment with mAb should be considered for patients who are in eligible lower risk tiers in the Priority Eligibility Criteria.
Paxlovid is indicated for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in patients 12 years of age and older who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death, and who meet the current Priority Eligibility Criteria.
Paxlovid currently has limited availability through the following sites:
- Selected Federally Qualified Health Centers and Tribal Health Centers.
- Selected Meijer Pharmacies in southeast and east central Michigan.
Molnupiravir is indicated for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults ages 18 and older who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death, and only when alternative COVID-19 treatment options authorized by FDA are not accessible or clinically appropriate and who meet the current Priority Eligibility Criteria.
Molnupiravir currently has limited availability through the following sites:
Additional information on oral antiviral medications and monoclonal antibody therapy, including priority eligibility criteria based on MDHHS scare resource allocation principles is available at Michigan.gov/COVIDTherapy.
- All Meijer Pharmacies (based on supply).
- Selected retail pharmacies in areas not served by Meijer (based on supply).